Tag Archives: Conflict

MEPs protect Ukraine women

Strasbourg 05.05.2022 The European Parliament (pictured) debated and will vote on how to protect women fleeing Ukraine from violence and trafficking, and on granting them access to essential health services.

On Thursday, MEPs are set to strongly condemn the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war and to express their deep concern about the growing number of reports of human trafficking, sexual violence, exploitation, rape and abuse faced by women and children fleeing Ukraine. They are expected to call for trafficking networks that profit from sexual exploitation of women refugees to be identified and prosecuted.

MEPs are also set to urge the EU and all host and transit countries to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), particularly emergency contraception and abortion care, including for victims of rape, as well as obstetric care.

According to the UNHCR, more than five million refugees – 90% of whom are women and children – have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started on 24 February. A further 7.1 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, including women and children in need of medical care.

AMENDMENT: The European Parliament adopted a resolution (462-19-89) calling on the EU to protect Ukraine women refugees from violence and sexual exploitation.

Borrell visits Kyiv

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrel visited Kyiv on Friday, April 8, together with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to reaffirm European solidarity with Ukraine and to announce additional support for its defense against Russia’s aggression. They met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal and visited the town of Bucha.

“There are two words to describe what is happening in Ukraine: failure and horror. Failure of the Russian army to overcome the courage of the Ukrainian people and horror over the indiscriminate killings and attacks against civilians,” High Representative Borrell said after the meeting with President Zelenskyy.

He stressed the EU’s appreciation for the bravery and morale of the Ukrainian people, as well as for the resilience of the authorities in maintaining the functioning of the state structures and the capacity to govern, despite the ongoing brutal invasion. With his Ukrainian counterparts Josep Borrell discussed in detail their current needs and acknowledged that their most urgent needs are weapons arms.

“We have already allocated one billion euro to provide weapons to the Ukrainian Army to defend the country and its people. In a couple of days, we will allocate €500 million more. We will make sure that these resources will be tailored to your needs, to provide you with the arms you need to fight to resist and to win,” stressed High Representative Borrell also at the meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In the wake of massacres by the Russian occupation forces in Bucha, he recalled the EU’s strong condemnation of the heinous crimes and widespread violations by Russian troops. He underlined that there cannot be impunity for war crimes and outlined the EU support to the ongoing national and international accountability efforts, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The High Representative said that the European Union will help, too, with documentation and prosecution of war crimes committed by Russian occupation troops in Ukraine.

“We will help the Ukrainian Prosecutor General to present the proofs in front of the International Criminal Court. Our civilian EU Advisory Mission will deploy their tools and capacities in order to support Ukrainian authorities in this task.”

The EU Advisory Mission will be supporting the Ukrainian Prosecutor General in providing training and donating equipment to ensure safe investigation and collection of evidence on the ground. The EU is also launching a dedicated €7.5 million euro project to support the investigations with ensuring large data collection on missing and disappeared persons.

During his visit in Ukraine High Representative Borrell [europa.eu/!tWtJHj]announced the return of the EU Delegation back to Kyiv, after its temporary relocation to Rzeszow in Poland. In talks with Prime Minister Shmyhal they agreed to accelerate preparations for the next EU-Ukraine Association Council, to take place in the near future.

MEP Donato denounces Facebook ban

Brussels 14.03.2022 “They closed my Facebook page. The attack on me started in a heavy way. Draw conclusions». The Venetian MEP Francesca Donato denounces this action of Facebook in her Twitter micro blog, explaining that her Facebook page with over 143 000 followers has been closed.

«I was immediately informed by my communication staff of the disappearance of the page which took place without any notification or warning from Facebook. I can only think that Zuckerberg’s company, which in these hours has also decided to make legitimate threats and insults to Russian citizens, has instead considered my page too free or in any case not compliant with the mainstream vulgate. This had been clear to me for some time, but I didn’t think they would silence a democratically elected Member of parliament and candidate for mayor in the fifth city of Italy».

The Facebook page of the independent MEP had already suffered limitations due to the very critical positions expressed on the vaccination campaign and on Covid management. «The blackout of my page comes incidentally after my vote against the European Parliament sanctions against Russia and my critical position on the government’s line of exacerbating the conflict in Ukraine. Limiting or even preventing the free expression of political opinions seems to me a way of operating on the part of Meta that is incompatible with the need to defend freedom and democracy. Anyone who thinks of silencing me or intimidating me should put his mind in peace: I don’t stop “, concludes Donato

MEP Donato has been exposing atrocities of the Ukranian troops towards civilians in Donbass, calling for peaceful resolution of the conflict, which lasted for eight years after Maidan Revolution in Kiev.

Zelensky visits wounded servicemen

Brussels 14.03.2022 Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelesnky visited injured soldiers in a Kiev hospital Sunday, 13 March, shaking hands and presenting medals to the wounded servicemen in their beds.

Photos and videos from the scene showed the President talking to members of Ukraine troops, who were recovering from the wounds at various locations, including Hostomel Airport near the capital.

One snap captured him appearing to take a selfie with a bedridden soldier, who he later awarded a medal.

Another showed Zelesnky with full personal protective equipment, including a mask, as he talked to a service-member hooked up to a slew of medical machines.

The president’s visit to the Kiev hospital comes as Russian forces encircle the capital.

The figures of perished and wounded among Ukrainian and Russian servicemen are various, dependent on the source, while each national news agency publishes information amplifying the loss of the foe, and reducing the loss of their own.

Ukraine officials have reported 1,581 civilian casualties. Among them was award-winning journalist Brent Renaud, a former New York Times contributor who was killed caught in ongoing battle near Kiev.

EU: Michel invitation to Versailles Council

Brussels 09.03.2022 Invitation letter by President Charles Michel to the members of the European Council ahead of their informal meeting of 10 and 11 March 2022:
“Russia has brought war back to Europe. This unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and undermines European security. Russia is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. We commend the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country. Together with Ukraine, we stand firmly on the side of freedom and democracy. Ukraine is part of our European family.

“In response to Russia’s aggression, the European Union has shown unity and strength. We have imposed on Russia the strictest sanctions ever adopted. The European Union and its Member States are providing coordinated humanitarian, political, financial and material support to Ukraine. Member States are also showing immense solidarity in hosting countless people fleeing the war.

“This conflict and its consequences will be at the heart of our informal meeting in Versailles on 10 and 11 March, which President Macron will kindly host.
Over the past years, faced with multiple crises and challenges, we engaged together on an ambitious strategic agenda. In the light of recent events, it is more urgent than ever that we take decisive steps towards building our sovereignty, reducing our dependencies and designing a new growth and investment model.

“Consequently, at our informal meeting, I would like us to focus on three particular issues, namely:

bolstering our defence capabilities;
reducing our energy dependency, in particular on Russian gas, oil and coal, and
building a more robust economic base.

Our meeting will start on 10 March at 5:30 pm with an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament. Our objective on the first day is to focus on the situation in Ukraine, as well as on defence and energy.

On 11 March, our morning session and our working lunch will be devoted to our new growth and investment model in the presence of the President of the European Central Bank and the President of the Eurogroup.

“I look forward to seeing you in Versailles (pictured above)”.

Russia-Ukraine talks started in Gomel

Brussels 28.02.2022 Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials began on the Belarusian border, Moscow said, while diplomatic and economic estrangement between Russian and the West deepens after four days of ongoing Russian assault in Ukraine.

Russian army overtook a number of cities in southeastern and the area around a notorious nuclear plant Chernobyl, the Interfax news agency wrote.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine are to be held in the Gomel region of Belarus.

As the site KP newspaper wrote earlier, the delegation from Ukraine was delayed due to difficult logistics – the diplomats decided to go through Poland first. The Ukrainian negotiators were reluctant to go directly to Gomel, as the fighting was going on in the area from the Ukrainian side.

The head of the Russian delegation Vladimir Medinsky (pictured), reported that Russia was ready to start negotiations immediately after the arrival of the Ukrainians.

14:35 The Russian-Ukrainian negotiations began with the Ukrainian delegation demanding the return of Crimea and the immediate payment of an indemnity of $14.8 billion, otherwise threatening to launch a large-scale offensive along the entire front.

14:07 Makei to the participants in the talks between Russia and Ukraine: “President Lukashenko sincerely hopes that during today’s talks it will be possible to find ways to resolve all crisis issues. And all Belarusians are praying for this. Any of your requests and proposals regarding the organization of today’s meeting will be accepted and implicitly executed. We are waiting for the result.”

13:55 Lukashenka hopes that in the course of negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine it will be possible to find a solution to all crisis issues, the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports.

13:17 Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have begun in the Gomel region, BelTA writes. The meeting of delegations is taking place near the Ukrainian border on the banks of the Pripyat River. Due to security reasons, the exact meeting point has not been announced.

11:39 The office of the President of Ukraine says that its main goal of negotiations with Russia is an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Read on http://WWW.KP.RU: https://www.kp.ru/daily/27369/4552011/

EU targets Russia Wagner group

Brussels 14.12.2021 Anna van Densky The European Council adopted a set of restrictive measures against the Wagner Group, a Russia-based private military entity. The measures target the Wagner group itself, and also eight related individuals.(Image above: illustration)

According to the EU Council statement, the Wagner Group has recruited, trained and sent private military operatives to conflict zones around the world to “fuel violence, loot natural resources and intimidate civilians in violation of international law, including international human rights law”.

The individuals listed by the EU are involved in “serious human rights abuses”, including “torture and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings, or in destabilising activities” in some of the countries and regions they operate in, including Libya, Syria, Donbass and the Central African Republic (CAR). The group is also spreading its influence elsewhere, notably in Africa in Sahel region. For these reasons the group constitutes a “threat for the people in the countries were they are present, the wider region and for the European Union”.

The aim of today’s decision is to curtail the subversive activities of the Wagner Group. It signals the EU’s strong determination to stand up for its interests and values in its neighbourhood and beyond, and to take tangible action against those threatening international peace and security, and breaching international law.

The restrictive measures imposed today were agreed under four sanctions regimes: the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, and sanctions regimes relating to the situation in Libya and Syria, as well as for actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

From now onwards the listed individuals and entities will be subject to an asset freeze in the EU. In addition, listed individuals will be subject to a travel ban to the EU. Moreover, persons and entities in the EU will be prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

Pope wishes “path of peace” in conflicts

In his ‘Urbi et Orbi speech Pope Francis addressed a number of issues of conflicts, and protracted conflicts in various places across the world.

For the Israelies and Palestinians, the Pope wishes resumption of the dialogue and path to peace to end the 70-year conflict rending “the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love”.

For Syrians he wishes that they can “find fraternity after long years of war” and that through international cooperation those who have fled may return home.

For Yemen, the hope that the truce will hold and bring relief to her people and children “exhausted by war and famine”.

For Africa, that the “Holy Child, the King of Peace” might “silence the clash of arms” allowing a “new dawn of fraternity to rise over the entire continent”.

For the Korean peninsula he prayed for the consolidation of the “bonds of fraternity” set in motion this year.

For Venezuelans the Pope hopes they might “recover social harmony” so as to “work fraternally” toward the country’s development.

For Ukrainians, he hopes “the Newborn Lord” might “bring relief” and “a lasting peace” which is possible only through respect for the “rights of every nation”.

For Nicaraguans he prayed that they might “see themselves once more as brothers and sisters” through reconciliation and building Nicaragua’s future together.

Pope Francis also mentioned those whose “freedom and identity” are compromised through modern forms of colonialisation, those suffering from hunger, lack of education and health care.

For those celebrating Christmas in hostile situations, Pontifex prayed that all minorities might live peacefully through respect for the right of religious freedom.

Urbi et Orbi  the Papal address to the of Rome and to the World denotes a speech and blessing to the city of Rome and to the entire world by the Pontiff on certain solemn occasions. At present according to the Pew Research there are more than two billion Christians in the world due to the population growth. Among them 1,3 million Catholics, with 40% of them residing in Latin America, where the Argentinian Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergogliocomes from.

EU action against sexual violence in conflicts

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, made the following statement:

Sexual violence against women and girls, boys and men is a despicable crime, and even more so when it occurs in situations of conflict, or as a tactic of war. It is a grave violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. For this reason, the European Union always has and will continue to condemn and fight sexual violence in conflict with the strongest commitment” – the text of the joint  statement says.

“All survivors must be guaranteed access to comprehensive psychological and health care services, as well as justice and reparations. We expect all states to conduct effective investigation of those crimes, to bring perpetrators to justice and to ensure accountability for past crimes, also to prevent future atrocities” – the EU statement continues.

“Children born following wartime rape and their mothers need to be protected and granted rights, as they often face exclusion and stigmatisation from their own communities and families. We should never forget those victims of war and stand in full support with them.

“The EU has been working hand in hand with its Member States, international partners, and civil society to enshrine the respect of fundamental human rights in peacebuilding efforts worldwide.

“We cannot be passive witness of crimes having such deep and long-term consequences on human beings, communities and entire societies. We will continue investing in raising awareness, while building more equal, educated and respectful societies within and outside our borders. This is and will stay at the core of the EU institutions and with partners around the world.

“We are fully determined to continue taking concrete actions to prevent and eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, in times of peace or conflict” – the statement concludes.

In a global approach, EU policy tools aim at eliminating all forms of conflict-related sexual violence, as part of the broader women, peace and security agenda and as a key aspect of conflict prevention, sustaining peace and sustainable development. This work is guided by the key objectives stipulated in the EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy, the new European Consensus on Development and the EU Gender Action Plan II.

  • The joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls has been given an initial EU investment of €500 million.
  • In 2017, almost €22 million were allocated in humanitarian aid for the prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence worldwide.
  • The EU currently holds the leadership of the ‘Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies’, a global initiative of more than 70 stakeholders to prevent and mitigate gender-based violence, from the earliest onset of a crisis. Also in the areas where our CSDP missions and operations are operating, the EU is supporting 43 multi-year projects, for an amount of €43 million, and two relevant multi-country programmes of €8.5 million, to prevent and address sexual violence. The EU also recently reinforced its zero-tolerance policy for abuses perpetrated by its own staff deployed in missions abroad. As an international framework, the EU signed in 2017 the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, as the first pan-European legal instrument and the most far-reaching international treaty to prevent and combat violence against women including sexual violence. The Convention explicitly recognises such abuses as human rights violations. (Image above: Nadia Murad a victim to sexual violence and EU Sakharov Prize winner, a human rights ,campaigner).

NATO-Russia Council resumed dialogue

“The NATO Russia Council had an open exchange on several topics, including the situation in and around Ukraine, issues related to military activities, transparency and risk reduction, as well as asymmetric techniques as aspects of doctrine and strategy. NATO and Russia both briefed on major upcoming exercises” – Oana Lungescu, NATO spokesperson tweeted a short compte-rendu.

“NATO’s approach to Russia is consistent. Practical cooperation was suspended in 2014 due to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. At the same time, channels for political dialogue are open and the NATO-Russia Council is an important forum. NATO and Russia also maintain open military-to-military lines of communication. NATO Allies welcomed the April meeting in Baku between the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Scaparrotti, and the Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Gerasimov. The dialogue between NATO and Russia contributes to more predictable relations and enhanced mutual security” Lungescu continued.

Russian Representation was also very laconic, and published the following comment on the Facebook page:

“…The members of the NRC presented their assessments of the factors affecting the situation in the field of military security in the Euro-Atlantic region, discussed the ways to reduce current tensions and prevent dangerous incidents.

In order to increase the predictability of military activities in accordance with established practice, the sides exchanged briefings on the upcoming significant exercises of the armed forces of NATO members states and Russia this year”.

At present, as the site of Russian Representation at NATO confirms, the Ambassador’s job is “vacant” (pictured in a grey box). The Mission is lead by high-ranked diplomat Yuri Andreevich Gorlach.

Russians at NATO

Previous NATO-Russia Council on the level of Ambassadors took place on 26th October 2017, with the situation in Afghanistan, as the central theme, the other issues discussed were military training exercises, and the conflict in Ukraine.

There were no press-conferences, or other exchanges with press foreseen to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

 

« Older Entries